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Why Can'T Mormons Be More Like Hinckley?


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Jeopardy Jennings says:

Even today, with Mormons more engaged in American public life than ever before, their sense of suspicion toward the outside world remains. When I attend my weekly church services, sermons and Sunday school lessons often come with anxious warnings about the dangers of “the World” — not the planet we all live on, but an evil place with a capital “W,” an unimaginably depraved Babylon that surrounds the righteous at all times. From 1995 to 2008, the LDS church was led by a sprightly old man named Gordon B. Hinckley, whose sermons were marked by an irrepressible joie de vivre. At the age of 84, he told a New York Times interviewer, “The world is good. Wonderful things are happening in this world. This is the greatest age in the history of the Earth.” But Hinckley’s sunny optimism never quite became his church’s.

I’m sympathetic to the idea that we need to stand firm against the evils of modern life (war, racism, “Are You There, Chelsea?”), but this kind of gloomy siege mentality is counterproductive. Too often, the response is to disengage, like our pioneer forefathers. We stick to ourselves and overshelter our children. We develop thin skins, taking every late-night monologue joke about Romney’s teetotaling ways or “magic underwear” as a sign of rampant discrimination. (I take it this is what many Mormons mean when they tell pollsters they are half again as put-upon as blacks, a ridiculous notion.)

........................

In my experience, outright discrimination against lay Mormons is much rarer today than this poll claims, but the political arena may be another story. The Obama campaign has said that it plans to target Romney’s “weirdness” factor (hint, hint, Mormon, nudge, not like us), and a recent Gingrich ad mocked as un-American Romney’s fluency in French, a language he picked up as a Mormon missionary. A Gallup Poll last June found that 22% of Americans wouldn’t vote for a Mormon from their own party, so Romney will face undeniable challenges getting out the vote in a general election against President Obama.

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/mormons-world-article-1.1008321

I actually agree with getting rid of the bunker mentality, adopting a "joie de vivre", being in the world and not of the world, etc. But the kicker is:

But it may comfort Romney’s skeptics to know that there will be little Mormon triumphalism in their man’s nomination or even election. In my experience, Romney isn’t an icon of hope to his community the way John F. Kennedy was for Catholics or Obama for African- Americans. If anything, his rise makes us uncomfortable. What will they say about Mormons at work every time Romney makes a debate gaffe or an unpopular policy move? Why would we want someone as divisive as a politician to be our public face? Weren’t Donny Osmond and Jimmer Fredette doing just fine?

We don’t particularly want to take over the White House. For better or for worse, after all that we’ve been through, Mormons would rather just keep to ourselves.

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I hope people can see Romney as a politician or Republican. I don't want to put him up as a representative for the Mormon "race".

As to feeling as put upon as a racial minority - he should speak for himself. That's just a silly comparison.

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Jeopary Jennings should, I believe remember this hymn....

Shall the youth of Zion falter

In defending truth and right?

While the enemy assaileth,

Shall we shrink or shun the fight?

No! True to the faith that our parents have cherished,

True to the truth for which martyrs have perished,

To God’s command,

Soul, heart, and hand,

Faithful and true we will ever stand.

Bunker mentality perhaps? I didn't see it that way when President Hinckley gave a conference talk around it.

But I am not gloomy regarding the gospel. Regarding the politics of our nation, the economy et al... yes there is much to be gloomy about. It is an idealogical struggle and perhaps Jennings in confusing a specific gloominess or malaise for one that entails the warnings of the gospel. Should we as Latter-day Saints exercise our pride in having a member of our church, for the first time, enter one of the most powerful offices in the land? I would question whether we should. A quiet confidence is better. Having survived Prop 8 repercussions here in California, I tend to see many elements of the world as being somewhat more hostile towards our morality than a "joie d' whaterver". :D

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Well, I think his last couple of paragraphs actually regress into the same bunker mentality he complains about.

Bunker mentality perhaps? I didn't see it that way when President Hinckley gave a conference talk around it.

He's actually holding up HInckely as an example of someone without a bunker mentality.

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Well, I think his last couple of paragraphs actually regress into the same bunker mentality he complains about.

I don't think he was proud of this fact, just stating what he sees as happening. He mentioned his doubt that the church picked up Hinckley's optimistic spirit, and concludes by positing that as a result we are not happy with all this attention and would rather retreat to ourselves. More of an observation, not a preference. When using the "us," I perceive him as presenting what he thinks the outlook to be of Mormonism in general, not his own (more optimistic) position in particular.

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Its been a tough few years since Hinkleys death. Prop 8, elections, Book of Mormon musical, and so on and so on. The environment with President HInckley was one which was benign because we as Latter-day Saints remained below the radar and properly benign to the outside world. However, with the changes in environment, we have been thrust out into the world. Being under the radar accomplishes little but is very comfortable. I see President Hinckley's tenure as being one to slowly pull us out of that position, which helped when we were thrust in the spotlight (which is still there due to the election. President Monson is doing a bang up job on the organizational level putting together systems that allow us to react and interact to both positive and negative events. Much of it remains unseen in the general membership, but as director of PA for my stake, I see many of the changes being carried out

I don't see it as a "bunker mentality" so much as learning new techniques and perfecting our judo ways when dealing with external stimuli.

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As to feeling as put upon as a racial minority - he should speak for himself. That's just a silly comparison.

Jennings's comment referred to the recent Pew Research Center poll, which reported that nearly half (46 percent) of Mormon respondents believed there was "a lot of discrimination" against Mormons in the US, while less than one third (31 percent) believed the same was true of blacks. Jennings thinks this is ridiculous.

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and a recent Gingrich ad mocked as un-American Romney’s fluency in French, a language he picked up as a Mormon missionary.

Obviously the American way is to be utterly disdainful of foreigners and if, in cases of extremity, one must use foreign mumbo-jumbo then it must be mangled and mispronounced.

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Jennings's comment referred to the recent Pew Research Center poll, which reported that nearly half (46 percent) of Mormon respondents believed there was "a lot of discrimination" against Mormons in the US, while less than one third (31 percent) believed the same was true of blacks. Jennings thinks this is ridiculous.

I stand corrected (darn my speed reading comprehension issues)

In that case he makes a good observation about a silly belief. From the standpoint of opportunity and poverty the Mormons are much better off. From the standpoint of cultural taboos and who we are allowed to make fun of publicly the Blacks are probably more protected in popular media. This is so obviously "apples and oranges" it doesn't bear serious weight.

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You know every time I read the title of this thread I can't help wonder if BCS space has a secret wish for mormons to be dead? :diablo:

That would be Peggy Fletcher Stack who reported on Jennings in the Salt Lake Tribune. Rather than quote from her hit piece, I chose to go with the original but I did adapt the title of her article because it was catchy.

:pirate:

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